T-bone accidents got their name because when one car hits another in the side at a 90° angle, it forms the shape of the letter “T.” Side impact collisions like these are also described as accidents where one vehicle “broadsides” another.
- A T-bone collision is a particularly dangerous type of accident because there is no warning whatsoever for the driver of the vehicle being struck, and also because vehicles don’t have the same level of protection on their sides as they do on their fronts and rears.
- For example, in a rear-end collision, the “crumple zone,” which is the part of the car designed to absorb the momentum of the collision, forms a protective barrier for the passengers. Likewise, the crumple zone in the front of a car can absorb much of the impact of a head-on collision. Drivers and front-seat passengers in head-on crashes have many centimeters (or even meters) of bumper, engine, dashboard, plastic, and steel between them and the other vehicle. On the other hand, car occupants who are struck broadside have only a window between the other vehicle and their head.
- Side airbags have saved many lives (they reduced driver’s side fatalities by 37%, and 52% in the case of SUV drivers), but although side airbags have been in new cars since 2014, there are many older models of vehicles on the road that don’t have them.
Insurance companies tend to try to settle for low amounts in order to bolster their bottom line profits. The car accident attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling will aggressively represent you and ensure you get every penny you deserve after your side-impact collision. Never settle for a quick check from an insurance company, because it won’t compensate you fully. Zirkin & Schmerling Law will help you hold the right person responsible. During this difficult time, we want to help you receive the compensation that helps you move on with your life.
- In 2019, side-impact collisions made up 23% of all crash fatalities in the U.S.
- The number is higher for car occupants (27%) and lower for SUV (19%) and pick-up (17%) occupants.
- In multiple-vehicle collisions, side-impact crashes made up 30% of all fatalities.
- Most side-impact collisions occur at intersections, and more than 50% of all collisions occur at or near intersections, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).
- Left turns at intersections are particularly dangerous. You can read about Maryland’s left-turn laws (§ 21-402) in our article, Determining Fault in Left-Turn Maryland Auto Accidents.
- When a car is involved in a side-impact collision with a Car SUV (CUV) or truck SUV, it is at a complete disadvantage. SUVs, CUVs, vans, and pick-ups have a combined market share of 72% now, so these types of accidents are more common than they have been in previous years.
- Why are they so dangerous? First of all, they all have weight on their side when compared to the average-sized car. Also, SUVs, vans, and pickups have higher points of impact than cars, so in side-impact collisions, the passengers and drivers of the lighter and lower-bodied cars tend to come out worse.
January 3, 2021: According to a witness, a white SUV failed to stop at the intersection of Great Mills Road and South Shangri La in Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County, and was broadsided by a pickup truck. This accident may have been complicated by severe weather that cut the power to several traffic lights in the area. There were no injuries reported at the scene of the crash.
December 30, 2021: A woman driving a Lincoln was broadsided by a male driver in a Toyota pickup truck at the intersection of Hunting Ridge Road and North Frederick Pike in Frederick County. Sadly, she died at the scene of the accident.
December 2, 2021: A T-bone collision occurred on Three Notch Road in Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County; there were no hospitalizations.
May 17, 2021: A Dodge Ram broadsided a Suzuki SUV that was making a left turn at the intersection of Rt. 4/Southern Maryland Blvd. at Lower Marlboro Road in Huntingtown, Calvert County. The SUV flipped onto its side, and the driver died of her injuries after being transported to the Calvert Health Medical Center.
Possible injuries in T-Bone accidents in Maryland
- According to the Journal of Safety Research, “injuries in side-impact crashes are mainly caused by volume reduction with a bending side force, direct contact with the struck portion of the vehicle, and inertial movement of the body.”
- The most commonly injured body parts are the head and the thorax (chest).
- According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), side-impact collisions commonly yield injuries to the following areas of the body:
- Chest and abdomen 49%
- Head and face 24%
- Pelvic region and lower extremities 14%
- Neck and spine 4%
- Occupants of vehicles involved in T-bone collisions most often die when the following organs are damaged:
- Brain 21%
- Thoracic aorta (largest aorta in the body) 21%
- Heart 18%
- Other typical injuries from T-bone collisions:
- Concussions, including TBIs (traumatic brain injuries)
- Broken bones resulting from the blunt force impact
- Spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash injuries from being shaken side to side
- Deep lacerations from broken glass
- Muscle and soft tissue injuries
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). According to the NIH, 39.2% of adults and 6-25% of children who have survived a motor vehicle accident develop PTSD.
Like any accident, a T-bone accident can have life-changing consequences. You may be suffering from physical pain as well as psychological aftereffects of your crash. You will also likely suffer significant financial ramifications as a result of your accident. If you can establish that the other driver was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, reduced earning capacity, loss of your hobbies and life enjoyment, car repairs, diminution of value, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and partial and/or permanent disfigurement.
Your ability to secure payment for these damages hinges on providing proof of them and showing that the other driver caused them.
Maryland uses the collateral source rule to allow plaintiffs who have been injured in auto accidents to recover damages for medical expenses, even if insurance covers them. If you have been injured, you may be able to recover damages for past and future medical expenses that can be attributed to the incident.
Those who have been seriously injured often require more than surgery or hospitalization to fully recover. Medical expenses can also include rehabilitation and physical therapy, psychological treatment, and assistive devices like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.
Side-impact collisions cause significant damage. Usually, at least one of the vehicles is traveling quickly – and with a broadside hit, both vehicles may be totaled. You may be able to recover the cost of your vehicle, and possibly other property that was destroyed inside the vehicle at the time of the collision.
Serious injuries can mean weeks or months away from work while you heal. In fact, some people who have been seriously injured find themselves unable to work at the same level again. You may be able to recover past and future lost wages by filing a lawsuit.
After an accident, the pain and suffering you experience can seep into every aspect of your life. Pursue compensation for your physical and mental suffering, so you have the resources you need to move forward with your life.
In most accidents, the drivers involved have conflicting stories about what occurred. Fault often centers on who had the right of way and also what happened in the moments before impact. The driver who struck you may have been distracted, speeding, under the influence, or texting. He or she may have been driving too fast for the road conditions, ignored a red light, or simply not seen your vehicle. Police reports and witness accounts will be important. There may be dashcam or traffic camera video footage of the accident. Sometimes sharp angles are involved, and an accident reconstructionist must be called in to determine the physics involved in the car accident.
The most important aspect of a car accident investigation is gathering the evidence you need to successfully back up your compensation claim. The burden is, unfortunately, upon you to prove that you were hurt, who hurt you, and the losses that you experienced.
Having excellent legal representation is also extremely important. It’s very difficult to handle an accident case alone while you’re already struggling to rest and recover from your injuries. Your lawyer relieves your huge burden of legal work and ensures your case is handled professionally, giving you the best possible chance at a positive outcome.
- First, make sure that you and the other occupants of the vehicle are safe. Once you have done that, call 911. It doesn’t matter if the other driver or other witnesses also call 911. The emergency services can deal with that. Tell the 911 dispatcher where you are.
- Gather your necessary information, such as your proof of insurance, registration, and driver’s license. You will give this to the police. If you can, you and the other driver can exchange insurance information, but don’t say anything that could be used against you at a later date.
- Take Pictures. In a side-impact collision, you may be dealing with considerable injuries, but if (and only if) you can safely do so, take pictures of both vehicles involved in the accident, any damage, any identifying road signs or landmarks to show exactly how the cars were positioned, the other driver’s license plate, and any skidmarks on the road.
- Tell the police officers exactly what happened, and make sure you know how to get a copy of the police report.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident. Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company if they call you other than to write down their contact information.
- Seek medical care as soon as possible. This is something you should do even if you don’t have apparent injuries. Many injuries take time to manifest themselves, and you will need to be thoroughly checked out for your own safety. You will also need documentation if you ultimately are involved in a lawsuit as a result of the accident.
- Contact an experienced car accident attorney to help you navigate through the process.
The statute of limitations in most Maryland car accident cases is 3 years from the date of the accident. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if a child was injured in a car accident when they were minor, their 3-year period begins the day that they turn 18 years old rather than the day of the accident. Filing before these deadlines is a crucial element of figuring out who pays for the medical bills in a car accident.